Housing expert will lead development of innovative policy solutions to address Maine’s shortage of workforce and affordable housing
Governor Janet Mills announced today that Greg Payne, the former director of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition and one of Maine’s foremost experts on affordable and workforce housing, has been appointed as Senior Advisor for Housing Policy inside the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future.
In this new role, Payne will lead development of innovative policy solutions to address Maine’s shortage of workforce and affordable housing, which has been exacerbated by the superheated housing market that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Single-family home prices in Maine have increased nearly 25 percent in 2021, according to the Maine Association of Realtors, with a median price of $310,000.
Governor Mills has proposed, and the Legislature has approved, investing $50 million for affordable and workforce housing through the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, the governor’s proposal for using nearly $1 billion in federal stimulus funds for Maine.
“Ensuring that Maine people can find an affordable and safe place to live and raise their families is critically important to me and my Administration," said Governor Mills. “As we ramp up our efforts through the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan to expand housing options across Maine, I am pleased to have Greg's considerable experience and expertise serving the people of Maine.”
“Affordable housing is a critical issue for Maine's economic growth and recovery, supporting Maine workers and their families, investing in our communities, and addressing climate change,” said Hannah Pingree, Director of the Governor's Office of Policy Innovation and the Future. “We are proud to have Greg lead collaboration to develop innovative policy solutions to address our state's housing challenges and opportunities."
“Safe, affordable housing is fundamental not only to the health and welfare of Maine people, but to our state’s economic future as well,” said Greg Payne. “While Maine’s housing challenges have only been exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic, there are also unprecedented opportunities ahead to address those challenges, and I look forward to working with partners both inside and outside of government to make the most of those opportunities.”
The need for more affordable and workforce housing in Maine has been identified by both the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee and the state’s 10-year Economic Strategy as a priority for Maine’s long-term prosperity.
Payne will lead the Administration’s policy approach on using federal stimulus through the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan for affordable and workforce housing, and will work closely with towns, cities and counties across Maine to help maximize local stimulus fund to make impactful housing investments that meet community needs.
Payne will also collaborate with the Maine Legislature, government agencies, nonprofits, and private sector entities on forward-looking housing solutions, and to support affordable and workforce housing initiatives underway to help Maine people.
“I consider affordable housing to be one of the most pressing issues in Maine right now. I am excited to see Greg Payne join the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future at this critical juncture,” said House Speaker Ryan Fecteau of Biddeford. “He is an expert who I’ve turned to as I’ve worked on legislation to expand housing options in this state. I think we can expect to see the state of Maine lead the nation in thoughtful and meaningful housing policy with Greg on the team.”
“I have worked with Greg over the years and know him as a tireless advocate for good housing policy and creating more affordable housing opportunities for Maine people,” said Dan Brennan, Director of MaineHousing. “I look forward to continuing our partnership and more importantly accomplishing even greater outcomes.”
As part of the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future, Payne will also contribute his expertise to the intersection of housing policy with other key GOPIF initiatives, such as climate change policy through the Maine Climate Council and children’s issues through the Children’s Cabinet.
Prior to joining GOPIF, Payne served as director of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, a diverse association of more than 136 private and public sector organizations committed to ensuring that all Mainers are adequately and affordably housed.
He was a development officer for more than 14 years with nonprofit Avesta Housing, managing all aspects of multifamily rental projects from concept to completion. He is also the former board chair of the National Low Income Housing Coalition and has worked for the Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless and the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.
Payne, 52, earned a degree in economics from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and a law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston.